Roster Construction: Defense
Two weeks ago I broke down how I thought the Offensive Roster should be constructed, that was somewhat changed with the draft and I amended it yesterday with an update on the relevant positions. Even with the update I have the Redskins keeping 26 offensive players to go along with three special teamers. That leaves just 24 spots for the defense to fill out. Here is how I see it shaping up:
Defensive Line: 7
-Many would think this should only be six, but I’d like to see the Redskins keep seven guys here. It’s the most rotational position on the defense, with your starters likely to play no more than 60-75% of the snaps. Even if there were no injuries your back-ups would play probably 25% of the time. That is a pretty significant portion of time, and more than you will see a 4th corner play. And lets be honest that is the bare minimum, without injuries and that’s not likely to happen. Defensive linemen have one of the highest injury rates of any position, making it more logical to have an extra option then at some other positions.
-Despite the fact that you typically don’t sub in linebackers that often it is very important to have depth for every spot. Back-up linebackers are key special teams contributors, so despite the fact that they collectively aren’t expected to see much action, they can bring a lot of value to your team. Also, being a 3-4 team, you probably want to ensure you have back-ups with a diverse skill set. You want guys who can blitz or cover on the outside, and guys who can either stop the run or cover on the inside. That way depending on the situation you can more accurately replace a starter if he goes down. Another factor for the Redskins keeping eight linebackers is the fact that three of their projected four starters are impeding free agents, so having some depth is not a bad thing.
Defensive backs: 9
-Some may wonder why it isn’t 10, since that is what the Redskins kept for the majority of last year. That is a loaded number though, since Brandon Meriweather was injured to start the season, the team felt they had to keep an extra safety. Since he continued to suffer setbacks, the team was forced to keep 10 defensive backs. When Brandon Meriweather was finally put on IR the team went down to four safeties and a total of nine defensive backs. Now it is possible that Meriweather (or some other defensive back) could be limited to start the season again since he’s coming off a serious knee injury, but otherwise it doesn’t seem to make sense to carry 10 defensive backs. I know that could potentially mean having three rookies in that group of nine, but if that is what the Redskins have to do it’s okay. All three rookies should be capable of at least contributing, and the Redskins should have a number of stop gap options to ensure that many (or even any) have to start.
What do you think? How should the roster be constructed (by position, not players)?